Sometimes, typographical book covers use deceptively simple design, whilst maintaining a strong identity.  Here are some of my favourites:


by James Case. Published by Hill & Wang, 2007. Designed by Jamie Keenan.

The concept of competition is illustrated perfectly here, with the letters jostling for space.

Personal Days

by Ed Park. Published by Random House, 2008.

The use of a keyboard theme gives strong support to this design. The diagonal slant to the keys, and touches such as the ‘bump’ on the ‘a novel’ key, help draw the eye. The inclusion of a ‘crow key’ gives a mysterious twist.

The Bug

by Ellen Ullman. Published by Anchor Books, 2004. Designed by Jamie Keenan.

Here is another take on the keyboard idea. This design uses fewer keys, and therefore loses the geometric simplicity of Personal Days above, but is more focussed on the text the keys display.

The Lie that Tells a Truth

by John Dufresne. Published by W. W. Norton & Co, 2003. Designed by John Fulbrook III.

This typeface (Distressed Typewriter) is interesting and varied enough in its construction to carry the design in a bold way, where perhaps a tidier typeface would have seemed boring.

Interestingly, for the paperback edition, the publishers decided to add a post-it note and to circle the title of the book, making the design more complex:

The Gone-Away World

by Nick Harkaway. Published by Knopf, 2008. Designed by Jason Booher.

This bold cover makes clever use of a drop shadow to spell out the book’s title. Especially inventive is the mirroring of the word ‘away’ in both the title and the author’s name, an effect which is heightened by the double use of a dash.

  1. Harriet Knowles says:

    Hi Bob, I have just taken a minute to look through your blog – I think your work is fantastic!

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